The weather over the past couple of weeks in Arkansas has been less than stellar for road cycling. Ice, snow, sleet and freezing rain have made the roads treacherous. Daytime temperatures below freezing have made the training rides bitterly cold. The winter weather only let up moderately for Saturday morning’s Crosswinds Classic Road Cycling Race.
Early Saturday morning a friend posted a photo on Facebook of all his riding gear laid out for the race with a simple statement, “I feel like I’m forgetting something!” Another friend answered simply, “Sanity.” With temperatures in the upper 20’s, a crosswind that would make the event creators proud and a chance of rain, sanity would be unnecessary for the day’s activities.
I arrived about 30 minutes before the start of the first races, just in time to notice a few snowflakes falling, perfect. The Truck Centers of Arkansas parking lot at the Galloway exit on I-40 in North Little Rock was the warm up location for riders. I watched them dance with the trucks as they moved in and out between the parked trucks. To start, the racers would work their way around all of the trucks on a neutral start led by a pace vehicle until they were on the flat, windy loop they would spend the race battling each other and the elements on.
The snow proved itself to be just for show, but the cold hung around throughout the morning. As the races went on, I heard of a few crashes, most coming from the normal bump and grind of hard racing. It reminded me of the phrase, “If you’re not rubbing, you’re not racing.” At 30 miles per hour in a tight group with wheels overlapping all it takes is one wrong tap of the brakes or a quick movement to the left or right to send several riders to the pavement.
This year the races attracted 168 racers, down from the 280 last year. I guess a few riders remembered to pack their sanity, they missed out on a great day of racing.
Results are posted. We’ll also have a bunch of photos from the day. Look for upcoming announcements on the Rock City Races brought to you by the same sanity-free folks at Central Arkansas Velo.